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Sugarcane farmers demand inclusion in Pasal Bheema

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BENGALURU: Sugarcane farmers in the state are up in arms demanding that the Central government include sugarcane and sericulture in the Pasal Bheema scheme.

“Is the Government sleeping?” asked S.N. Basavanna, President of the  State Sugarcane Farmers’ Association at a press conference in the Press Club on Thursday.

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MEMBERS OF THE STATE FARM ASSOCIATION. PHOTO – ASHWIN

The association will stage a protest at Mysore on July 5 to put forward their demands to the Central government which has already inlcuded 41 crops under the Pasal Bheema scheme. That silk and sugarcane were left out of the list has upset the farmers.

The farmers want the government should reconsider the sugarcane FRP (fair and remunerative price) of Rs 2300 and the reduction in it of Rs 700 per tonne has led to huge loss to the famers. They also want sugarcane to be seen as primary cultivation. Further, they wanted the interest period for the loans taken by sugarcane cultivators to be increased to 18 months.

There are around 22 lakh sugarcane farmers who take financial help from various sources. The government should consider providing the benefits of the Pasal Bheema scheme to them as well. They should check the quality of the sugarcane and each person should be given an equitable amount of profit for the cultivation, the farmers’ body demanded.

In Karnataka, sugarcane cultivators should have received Rs 300 crores as FRP in 2013-14,  Rs110 crores for 2014-15 and Rs 1500 crores for 2015-16 for their crops. Though sugarcane prices have gone up, the farmers who cultivate sugarcane are still facing massive losses, said the association president.

Ashwin

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